kim photo of jeanhee kim

May 26, 2004


i walked into a turnstile. i was in la-la land at the grand central lexington line station and forgot to put my metrocard through the reader. i just blithely walked forward and doubled over with force when the cold metal bar of the turnstile hit me just below the waist.

it didn’t hurt. but i felt idiotic. i looked around to make sure no one saw me. laughed a little too loudly. i adjusted my clothing and said something like, “Jeanhee, how about remembering to use your metrocard?” to no one in particular.

No one looked at me twice, although i guessed that some were wondering whether i was unusually well-dressed to be a crazy homeless person speaking out loud to herself so i just whipped out my metrocard, swiped myself through on the first try, and went on my merry, slightly more aware, way.

jeanhee @ 4:44 pm

laissez les bons temps

i am procrastinating! but i have a good topic: Kendall’s wedding!

It was in one of my favorite non-New York cities, New Orleans. the Big Easy. Luke and I, as usual, had not packed or prepared in advance and found ourselves trying to plan a weekend’s wardrobe at midnight on thursday. we went to bed after 1 and woke up at 4:45 a.m. on Friday. By 5:30, we were at the 14th St. 1/9/2/3 subway for an adventure in public transportation!

Who knew there is no express train between midnight and 6 a.m.? the 3 disappears altogether, and the 2 runs on the local line. but since we didn’t know that, we let a 2 train go and then waited and waited by the express tracks until i read the subway map legend and figured it out. weirdly, it said express service starts at 6:30 but at 10 after 6 a.m. a 3 train rolled into the station. By 6:25 we were at 125th street where we waited 5 minutes for the M60. That took us straight to LaGuardia. We got to the gate just as they were starting to board. whew! it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to the airport — but if it weren’t for that after-hours non-express thing, i think it would ordinarily have taken 15 minutes less. if you ever need to choose your way to the airport, you’ll have to weigh the value of time vs. the value of money equation. it cost $4 for the two of us to get to LaGuardia.

our flight out there was noneventful. however, word was that bush was speaking at a commencement at LSU the next day. our flight was put in a holding pattern 100 miles out of N.O.L.A. because of “VIPs.” How much do you want to bet we were hovering for bush?

we arrived 10 minutes later than expected and grabbed a cab to the city. we had a half hour to get to Dauphine Street in the French Quarter for lunch! i had made reservations for the last lunch seating at Susan Spicer’s Bayona.

we just made it. and the hostess kindly stowed away our luggage. We met up wtih Tamar, who was a sight for sore eyes! it’s funny to see a friend who lives in your town–but whom you haven’t seen in weeks–in a far away city.

the restaurant is beautiful. it’s in what must have been an old house. the walls are the most soothing color of burnt red. one room — an interior one with no windows — has murals on the walls.

as is almost always the case at fancy restaurants, the appetizers have all the sensational flavors. we three shared an appetizer of grilled seasoned shrimp with black bean cake. mmmm. the chef also made dishes vegetarian on request so i had the sauteed scallops minus the pancetta. luke had the amberjack minus the bacon. tamar had the shrimp with chorizo. i don’t know why i bothered, i ate meat all of my other meals that weekend.

i loved all the flavors, but especially the dessert. we ordered two because we couldn’t decide. the hazelnut bomb with banana fritters looked gorgeous and tasted good, but it lost the contest to the mango coconut spring roll. yum!!!

our leisurely lunch lasted more than 2 hours. then we rolled our luggage along to our hotel just outside the quarter on st. charles ave. we checked into the free room i got for refinancing with wells fargo, and guess what? it was what you’d expect from a free room. our view was onto the interior of the hotel and just across the way from the hotel gym! we kept the curtains drawn!

now i’m getting tired. must sleep. but will say that the wedding was tasteful. kendall looked gorgeous — as always. david was handsome. i had to read a poem by rumi, and i didn’t lose it in the middle of my recitation. and the reception was fun! the band was excellent — new orleans jazz, with lots of brass. david requested the last song to be audubon zoo. it’s a children’s song i guess, but they speeded it up so we could dance to it and the refrain goes, Dey All Axed About You. (“…I wen on down to de audubon zoo and/Dey all ax’d for you/De monkeys ax’d/De tigers ax’d/And de elephant ax’d me too…”).

afterward, several dartmouth buddies and kendall’s brother chuck (i kept calling him charles!) convinced kendall and david to come to tipitina’s with us. we saw a great opening band whose name i never caught. they did bluesy rock, my favorite kind. then we listened to a few numbers from the headliner, Big Sam and the Funky Nation. funk-ay!

one wedding down, 6 more to go! plus, of course, luke and mine! this is going to be a busy summer.

jeanhee @ 2:13 am

May 19, 2004

The Civilians win an Obie!

On Monday night, i had a once-in-a-lifetime experience, that I hope will become something less rare: I went to the Obie Awards show!

The Civilians won an Obie grant for $3,333! I have to admit it’s a little confusing to describe exactly what the recognition was since i kind of blanked out on that part of the tribute. I believe it was an award recognizing that this very young theater company has produced a very promising, impressive body of work and here’s some money so they can continue to do more. Earlier in the evening, one of the winners said that receiving this award makes your career harder because it means that from then on, you have to prove the Obie’s people were right.

I feel that way about the Civilians. What an incredible honor to get so early in it’s life. And to receive the tribute from no less than Swoosie Kurtz! She was so cool, and her tribute speech was perfectly “on.” She read the words of the Civilians theme song, which ends with the hilarious line: “Do we rock? You betcha!”

Hearing her read those words straight gave it a whole new meaning. Michael Friedman, the musical director said he nearly cried listening to her. Steve Cosson, who got on stage to receive the award — he’s the artistic director and founder — gave a great speech and then, after the show, needed to drink a couple martinis to get over his stage fright.

It was just very cool.

Jenny Morris, one of the founding members of the company said she bumped into a Time Out theater reviewer who congratulated her and then mused, “I remember seeing your very first show (Canard, Canard, Goose! — 2001) and thinking it was such a goof. And now, you’re actually a theater company!”

Great things can happen when a bunch of talented, creative people decide to goof together! Bravo, Civilians!

jeanhee @ 9:49 am

May 13, 2004

the picture perfect avocado

Yesterday, I made guacamole. one of the avocado i used was so perfect and beautiful that i had to write about it! there was not a single blemish on the fruit, and it was the most gorgeous creamy yellow-green. i guess i’ve never actually cut an avocado that was at the perfect moment of ripeness. when i halved it, the pit was absolutely smooth and clean — no bits of avocado fruit clung to it. i wished i had a camera to take a picture. summer is almost here! i can see it in the fruits and vegetables at the market. and the smell of the air at the union square greenmarket in the morning. yay!

jeanhee @ 1:15 am

May 7, 2004

Sweet Revenge

As shocking as this was to me, bullies don’t disappear after we graduate from the schoolyard. Just about a year ago, I came face to face with one at my gym.

I was just learning a new sport — beach volleyball — and had discovered that my gym has perhaps the only indoor sand court in New York City. Luke and I began to play at the informally enforced intermediate time — Tuesday and Thursday nights. The men alternated 2 1/2-hour blocks of court time with the women.

All was fine for a few months until a woman began showing up who was thought to be much better than all of the other Tuesday/Thursday women. Adrienne was from the west coast, where the caliber of players is much higher than in the east and admittedly, she was a much more experienced and skilled player than I was.

One evening after a match, Adrienne said she needed to talk to me. We walked a few steps away from the others and she said, “Jeanhee, you just aren’t a good enough player. It isn’t fun for me to play with you. You should not show up anymore.”

“Well, Adrienne, I’m sorry that you feel that way. But I am a paying member of this gym so I will play here when I want to. You’re just another member of this gym, too, you can’t tell me what I can do here or when.”

At this point, Adrienne began getting emotionally agitated. We were sitting on the edge of the court and she began to gesture more dramatically as she spoke, hitting the sand, raising her voice: “I am a THOUSAND TIMES better than you! I am even better than the men. But they don’t let me play with them. It’s not fair! And it’s not fair that I should have to play with you.”

She continued. “If you continue to play here, I won’t play anymore. I will NEVER play on any court with you. Everyone here agrees with me. We don’t like playing with you. NO ONE likes playing with you. If you try to play again no one will play with you. Don’t show up anymore.”

This went on for a while. But I had my back up. I didn’t raise my voice, which seemed easy at the time because her behavior was so bizarre. I felt like I was calming a mental patient, and yet at the same time, defending myself. I walked over to the other women — who I assume could hear most of Adrienne’s rant but had done nothing — and said, “I will be here next week at the same time we always play.”

Since they were silent, I had no idea whether what Adrienne had said was true. But I figured if they refused to play, they would only be spiting themselves as I intended to workout, do drills or practice on the court — alone if I had to — during the women’s time until there were enough other players to have a game. I knew that I was right, but that was small comfort.

Of course, the next five days passed agonizingly slowly, but as I had promised, I showed up the next week and the other women, minus Adrienne, were there. And no one wanted to talk about it. It was terribly awkward for me, but I can be stubborn. Over time, the awkwardness dissipated, and my playing improved, as I knew it would, from practice. Adrienne resigned her membership but remained friends with the other women, who often asked her to show up as a guest to play. From what I could tell, she refused.

Well, lo and behold, Adrienne showed up last night. Of course, we did not pair up as partners, so my first game was against her. I am a notoriously slow-to-start player and my first game is usually my worst. This was true last night as every shot I made missed the perimeter of the court by at least a foot. We lost 21-16. However, I felt pretty good because as I got warmer and loosened up, our game improved, and we had shrunk our deficit from being down eight points, to five.

Having lost, Judy and I had to sit for the next game. Once we got back on the court, though, we were more warmed up and played well together. We won our second game handily, 21 to 5. Our third game was once again against Adrienne’s team. This time, the nerves I had felt were calming down. I served aggressively, often directly at Adrienne. Not only was my serve effective, but it also allowed Adrienne — by far the best offensive player among us last night — an opportunity to spike the ball. I wanted to win, but I didn’t want to win by training all my shots at her weaker partner.

Judy and I won decisively, 21 to 15. And we beat them once more before the night was over. Our record was four wins out of our five games, by easy margins. I was very, very pleased with myself. Not only had I executed many of my newer offensive skills — spikes, cut shots, rolls — but I had defended the court very well. Several of Adrienne’s shots — and her partner’s, for that matter — did get by me, but most did not. I even managed to pick up some shots that came over my head — my weakness.

Did I think Adrienne brought her best game last night? No. She looked out of practice actually. But it didn’t matter. My own playing was really what mattered to me. Under pressure, I controlled my nerves and managed to perform my best. That was an accomplishment!

When I got home and told Luke the story of my night, he asked if I felt I had gotten my revenge. I had. And it did indeed taste sweet.

jeanhee @ 10:56 am

May 6, 2004

we all scream for ice cream!

i am trying to find an ice cream truck that operates in delaware county during the summers. you know, the kind that has the carousel music and the old guy who will give us an ice cream cone for free if we don’t have the money? and then mom comes running over with her wallet and all is well?

anyway, i contacted the chambers of commerce for several towns upstate and there are no ice cream trucks that anyone can think of! at first i couldn’t believe it because the catskills seem to me to be such an idyllic summer place for kids, i thought for sure there would be ice cream trucks just as there are tire swings hanging from trees and swimming holes everywhere.

but then i thought about the economy upstate, and how there seem to be an awful lot of people who cut hair from their homes. there are shuttered buildings and not a lot of commerce. that’s changing, slowly, and i’ve seen a lot of improvements since i started to visit every summer for the last 10 years. but still. the resorts –those that have survived — aren’t what they used to be. the economy certainly isn’t what it used to be.

so, ice cream trucks must surely go where the children are, and there probably isn’t a dense enough population of kids to make it feasible.

but, if you happen to know of any ice cream trucks with the carousel music and the friendly ice cream man or woman, let me know!

jeanhee @ 4:17 pm